8 Films With "Subtle" Messages (That Are REALLY Obvious)

This is a subtlety-free zone, folks.

The Matrix
Warner Bros.

Some people say that certain genre movies are just silly bits of throwaway entertainment without any depth, and they couldn't be more wrong. One of the great things about sci-fi and horror is that they can address really interesting, important, and complex themes in an accessible, fun, and unusual way, all while keeping us thrilled, intrigued, or even scared.

Fear and violence are only the most obvious, too, as there are also great films about exploration, colonialism, politics, class, history, gender, race, the body...

The list goes on.

Sometimes the treatment of the ideas is incredibly subtle, sophisticated, and thought-provoking, and can stay with viewers for a long time, maybe even helping them reimagine the way they understand the world.

Other films, though, whilst they still have important things to say, are not subtle at all. Rather than suggesting or hinting at a theme, they put the main idea front and centre, dripping with gore and screaming its meaning at you with the total opposite of restraint.

Subtlety, after all, isn't always a virtue. What's wrong with being clear and communicating exactly what you mean?

8. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge

The Matrix
New Line Cinema

It's difficult to believe that there was a time when people didn't 'get' Freddy's Revenge. This first sequel, often considered the ugly duckling of the series, is based around a young man struggling with his sexuality.

Freddy is 'inside' of Jesse, and he emerges when Jesse is in situations of potential intimacy with other men, such as when he's in his friend's bedroom, for instance, or when he's in the showers with his gym teacher who happens to be into S&M.

As well as a film about coming out, Freddy's Revenge can be seen as an AIDS film, because of the way that the film interweaves the possibility that Jesse might be gay with the possibility that he might be a killer.

Freddy's Revenge came out in 1985, one of the years which saw homophobia ramp up to new heights due to the scaremongering that surrounded the AIDS epidemic at that time. Gay sexuality was already taboo, so an unexplained "new disease" that seemed to be associated with drug use and homosexuality made it even more so.

On this reading, the film is undeniably homophobic. But the way the film engages so deeply with the fear of coming out, paradoxically, is one of the reasons it is now finding new fans.

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